Softball: Tanzania, Mexico in Utsugi Cup opener 

THE National Girls softball team begins its campaign today in the 2023 U-15 Utsugi Cup as it faces Mexico in the tournament opener in Takasaki, Japan.

The 2023 U-15 Utsugi Cup is a continental softball competition with six teams from different continents in two groups.

The tournament commences today and will climax on Sunday.

Tanzania is Africa’s sole representative, whereas other countries involved are: China, Italy, the United States, Mexico and the host nation Japan.

Tanzania is placed in Group A together with Japan and Mexico. Group B include China, Italy and the United States.

On the same day of the competition’s opening, Tanzania will play against Japan in the afternoon.

Therefore Tanzania will have two games in the competition’s opener, thus facing Mexico in the morning and Japan in the afternoon.

The same to its fellow group members will have two games as well.

The Secretary General of the Tanzania Baseball and Softball Association (TaBSA), Alpherio Nchimbi, said the team arrived safely with a squad of 16 players from Tanzania Mainland and the Isles.

He named the players and two coaches as the Head Coach Faraja Makale and her assistant Abubakar Nachiwa, together with four other officials.

“We safely arrived in Japan; our players had an indoor warm up exercise on the next day of their arrival.

“It is an Under 15 women softball competition at a continental level with about six nations Japan, Tanzania, Mexico, USA, China and Italy.”

The players in the squad are Regina Maganga, Naomi Kashato, Husna Mohamed, Amina Saidi, Fatuma Hassan, Mwajuma Uledi, Ernesta Petro and Kulwa Thereza.

Others are Leticia Erneo, Scola Mienda, Aisha Najimu, Fathia Mwadimu, Asha Kipamba, Mauled Ally, Abdoulzwamad Widad, and Mariam Omar.

All teams have already announced their rosters for the nine-game competition, sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), and it will grant points for the Women’s Softball World Ranking.

The six-team Utsugi Cup will open with two groups of three teams, with three playoff games for fifth place (third-place teams from both groups), the bronze medal (second-place teams from both groups) and the gold medal (top teams from each group).

Further, the Utsugi Cup, for U-15 women softballers, was created in honour of Olympic silver (2000) and bronze medallist (2004) and former Japan women’s softball national team manager Taeko Utsugi who is behind many of the sport’s development initiatives in Japan.

The tournament will serve as ideal preparation for the first edition of the WBSC U-15 Women’s Softball World Cup, which will take place in Tokyo, Japan from October 21st to 29th this year.

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